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#grad life

“I can’t do Emotion Algebra, [redacted name]!” said by [redacted name] in my RODBT group.

Everyone then agreed that Emotion Algebra needed to be a thing and someone should write a PhD dissertation on it. 

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Been really busy with Digital Humanities work because I picked up extra hours on another professor’s project. I even get credited! 

With all of that done, it’s time to get back to 18th century Queer Theory. Here are this weeks readings and my short Restoration Comedy notes. 

Last semester I had to read two novels a week, so shifting gears to plays and poetry makes me so happy. This class is so close to my area of interest too. 

I’m really enjoying this class for it’s content and rigor. It’s just the atmosphere I need to become a better academic.

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Not science related but when I’m not doing research and need a break from reading the ever depressing news, my favourite activity is procrasti-knitting (and crocheting). I’m almost done my largest project yet!

As a new grad student I don’t have a lot of free time so this project has almost taken a year.

Other grad students of tumblr, do you have any other selfcare project or art on the go?

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Snow reminded me how far I’ve come

As a person who lives in tropical country, having to experience a snowy day is definitely a dream come true. So as soon as the snow piled up, I went outside and lie down to create my first ever snow angel. However, as soon as I hit the ground, I felt this incredible comfort offered by the snow and I gasped loudly as my back felt it. It was already an overwhelming experience for me and I couldn’t help but cry when I saw the sky and the snowflakes dancing in the air, ‘it’s fucking beautiful

I remember all of the hard work I did just to be where I am now. All of the late nights and early mornings spent in the lab. I remember that I had to endure being away from my family, more tears came when I thought about my parents, ‘I wish I could make them experience this…’ I remember the innocent kid wearing tattered shirt playing out in the streets under the sun. I remember the first time I heard the story of someone in my neighborhood that was able to study abroad and bring their family. I remember the first time I heard that my undergraduate professors are scholars in korea to pursue their master’s and doctorate degree. I remember the first time when I thought about it. I remember the journey, all of it.

“So… you made it huh.”

“Yeah, it seems like that.”

“You’ve come so far, I’m sure that the younger version of you would be proud of the person you are now. Stop being so hard on yourself.”

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Getting my desk space set-up for my new RA position. They also gave me a laptop, and casually offered to fly me halfway across the country for a meeting at the end of the month ?!! I can’t make it - BUT WHAT?

I think I picked the right grad faculty in terms of $$ and resources 🤓🤓😎😎

hopefully more frequent updates to come now that all my grants are in !!

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I really have to take care not to write him a shitty and disrespectful email like he did to me. 

I hate when he starts the email with my name. It is like he is sighing, looking frustrated, telling me how stupid and unfocused I am.

I fucking put all my enthusiasm into this abstract and he is neglecting every spark of creativity. Like he doesn’t understand the story and doesn’t care about the guidelines the conference set, I feel. He just always wants to say his shit.

And then asking me about my research seminar, like: And what is about the research seminar next week?

Are you fucking kidding me? Am I a kid to you? You think just because you cannot handle several things at the same time you are projecting onto me? Like yes, I am working on that paper, on the abstract, preparing the BIO BLOCK course next week AND on my research seminar AT THE SAME freaking TIME!!!!!!! AND I LOVE IT.

The most annoying part of my PhD is my supervisor… is your supervisor holding you from making research??? Like what the fuck.

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I’m not waiting for the downfall either, when I say that things are actually turning out well.

part one: the org.

The warzone that used to be the college org that had pulled me in about a year ago, has become something like a congress or courthouse. It’s not yet a perfect democracy, but at least it’s no longer a one-man army. Maybe it’s just my war flashbacks - a term I’ve quite recently learned to call my officer initiatives as - talking, but I really am proud that it’s quickly coming to a close.

I authored 80% of a constitution, designed new branding schemes, appointed key bearers of the legacy, and hauled in the footholds for a well-connected and reputable college organization. In the end, I stumbled with the unfamiliarity of what I’ve achieved. I’ve grown so used to doing everything on my own that I almost forgot that I was leaving, that I should be training others to be as open to receiving new learnings as I had when I started out. For the younger ones, I’m the org mentor that I never had for myself.

It’s weird, it’s heart-expanding, it’s inspiring to see progress. And especially when you’ve been working for it all along.

But it hurts - just as much - to have to give it up, just as it teeters towards the peak of its greatness.

part two: the internship.

By luckiest stroke of fate, by some divine intervention, by some alignment of stars that still boggle me til now, I got into the best internship I think I could ever have signed up for.

I got into an IT consulting firm that specializes in UI/UX web and mobile development and design. Coding and UI, my unexplored specialties. My graphics design team are made up of UI/UX designers, and they allow me to learn their trade without being pressured to keep up with their standards. They were literally assisting me in coding my thesis website, but that wasn’t the best part.

The firm allowed for flexi-time, which meant I could clock in anytime in the work week as long as I got to finish at least eight hours. My supervisor always came around 10am-7pm, and I always arrived earlier and left later than him. I’m determined to do as much work as I can for the whole day; I can almost go 12 hours with minor breaks and coffee lmao.

The supervisor is an alumni of my course. He had taken his college life easier than me, and him being like that allowed me to think that hey, even if you don’t graduate this school at the top, you can still get by if you have the guts and the grit. And that’s what I’m developing right now. I occasionally ask for time off work to attend to org duties and thesis emergencies, but I still do deliver for the internship. Yep, while senior high taught me that I had a voice, college taught me how to use it and use it well.

part three: the thesis.

I know where to use my voice for: to talk about what no one does. My undergraduate thesis talks about civics education: the umbrella concept for how people are taught about politics, society, and democracy. It’s a personal advocacy that stemmed from questions about nationalism and patriotism, from reading about history surrounding Rizal, and being immersed in the novels themselves. Writer as I am, I simply can’t help the latter.

The multimedia thesis a print card game about Rizal’s civic activities, that aims to teach civics education to Grade 10 students. Paperwork and pre-production almost done, this iteration is down to the last few tweaks until we can squeak past proofreading, user testing, and market testing.

For the record, I myself stressed over the website for the last few weeks that not only had the UI/UX designers at the internship had stepped in and offered some tips, but that I seriously had to take days off work just to finish it. When I finally eked out half, my thesis adviser said that I should have focused on the game instead, since the website was only a marketing tool. Within that same day, I churned out all 63 cards (one still had its illustration underway) out of 2 ginormous PSD files, ready for proofreading and printing. The night burned me out quite bad, but at least that load quickly finished… 

part four: the story.

Coupled within the week, a good friend had asked help for his animation thesis, which was an advocacy story he was to animate in VR. I’d promised my help long ago, and I delivered: a five-page draft script, complete with concrete visualizations and directions of how he’ll execute it in VR.

I couldn’t have been prouder of this collab. I’ve always wanted to be a story artist - someone who visualizes stories and writes them as well - the only thing holding me back is my lack of experience in drawing for animation aka my degree. I could be helping all his classmates with their animation stories, he says, with how much I’m able to use film techniques, symbolisms, dialogues, and colors to fully execute his VR animated story. My degree is siphoning me into the ad industry, but in this collab, I learned what it’s like to be the visual director, the story artist. Not only was it fun, it was actually really fulfilling to be able to write with animation!

The collab also demonstrated that two people - in all their differences and similarities - can still be on equal ground if they work together. This collab taught me what it truly means to be loyal, to have each other’s back not out of duty or responsibility but because you chose to learn when you chose to stay. 

part five: the burnout.

The weekend after demanded at least 12 hours of sleep and mug of warm milk, and ton of chocolate. The burnout was real. My head was ringing from the online calls for the animation thesis, among other things; I was in no mood to do org work nor house chores, not even to draw, write a poem, or squeeze out a chapter. I was tired, physically, mentally.

But emotionally, I was satisfied.

For once, I was satisfied with my week.

Not only with my week, but everything that led up to that. The org. The internship. The thesis. My staying. Everything.

My college life is coming to a close. My time to understand everything, before twenty hits, is fast ending. For once I’m not regretting, for once, I’m not mad.

For once, I’m no longer ranting.

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Day #47 - 100 days of productivity

9th of Febr. 2020

I think today was successful. I woke up early and had breakfast. After cleaning the apartement, I proof-read a draft and helped my niece with her application. Then I continued with the abstract for a conference I want to attend later this year. Oh and this morning I finally had my french-press coffee and I enjoyed it very much. Oh and today is the second day without watching youtube. On saturday morning I thought to myself: What will happen if you go one day without youtube? No youtube during shower, no youtube while getting ready, no youtube just to waste time and watch others live their lives, no youtube before sleep. And today is already the second day. And I feel great. Somehow I feel calm and more focused. And you know, I may try one week without youtube.

May the force be with me and with you.


Day #46

8th of Febr. 2020


In the morning I spend some time doing the presentation for my Research Seminar. Then we went grocery shopping, and running. This weekend we have such beautiful and sunny weather, it is soul-warming. At the moment I am reading “How to win Friends and influence people“ by Dale Carnegie. I like Dale Carnegie and I was familiar with some of the concepts that he is writing about but I think I need to re-read each chapter (as he suggested) and further read to really grasp the principles and make judgements.

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